Friday, November 6, 2009

Guest entry by Hilarie Ashton, Draper student

Draper student Hilarie Ashton gave a presentation last month at the NYU Colloquium in American Literature and Culture. Here are some of her thoughts about the experience:

I recently presented a paper at NYU's Colloquium in American Literature and Culture (CALC). The experience was illuminating in several ways, not in the least during the preparation process. The act of writing for the ear rather than the eye feels more different than I thought it would. I found myself having to consciously shorten my clauses as I wrote and revised, and to reduce long, in-text references and quotes. I continually had to remind myself that I was writing both in terms of verbal delivery and auditory comprehension rather than as a traditional class paper or journal article.

The presentation itself worked well in part because of several levels on which my paper synched with the other one: I wrote on neighborhood, identity, and social interaction in Edgardo Vega's novel The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle, and Katie Levy, a PhD student from BU, wrote on combinations of those issues in Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude (which, completely coincidentally, I had come close to finishing earlier that week). The papers' dialogue became really clear during the rich and insightful discussion that followed our readings of our work: people's comments wove together really well, and I got some great ideas for future work. I'd definitely recommend the CALC events to Draper students, whether you'd be interested in presenting or participating as audience to a thought provoking discussion.

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